Friday, April 20, 2018

One Word Summary?


The last few days, if you follow our President,  you will have heard news about about peeing, prostitutes in an industry in which Russia seems to have the most beautiful if you listen to misogynist pigs such as Putin, and almost everything else being fake news  and witch hunts (notice how everything bad is either dark or female?). But, if you follow the real news you will learn a First Lady has died. She did not get enough credit when alive, and while I disagreed with her politics, she was an honest and strong person and loyal to family. She lost a small child when she was young, was a military wife with all of the sacrifices that entailed, took on the thankless role of First Lady, listened to others say awful things about her sons who ran for office, and while a white privileged mother, still paid her dues.  I have heard several times in the news that she was known as the "Enforcer."


This got me thinking about my life.  What if I died this year?  Would there be one word that came to the mind of those that knew me?  I was hoping it would be "loyal",  but it could be "loudmouthed,"  or "uncommunicative" or "over-organized"  or "opinionated" or possibly "emotional." 

What would be the word that you think you should be remembered by and is that the same word that others would use?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Curiouser and Curiouser


"I needed to compose you one little bit of observation to be able to give thanks again for those striking strategies you've shared above. It was certainly pretty open-handed of you to offer publicly exactly what most people might have marketed as an electronic book to make some profit for themselves, even more so considering that you could have tried it if you ever considered necessary. The secrets in addition acted like a good way to comprehend the rest have similar zeal like my very own to realize significantly more with regard to this issue. I'm certain there are thousands of more fun moments ahead for those who find out your site. holiday ideas on." (This was followed by a link to the blog.)


I allow immediate comments on this blog because I  usually am able to read them at that time.  After a week I have set my blog to prevent comments from being  published until I give approval as this is usually the time a "bot" or spam blogger posts something in the comments section.  

This comment in quotes above was left on one of  my posts.  One would think "they" could write some routine post that at least makes enough sense to  make me curious to go to the link they add to  their blog.  This must have been written by a computer.  Strange....






Thursday, April 12, 2018

I Knew That Already



I use Facebook more than many people do, but I do not judge those who will have nothing to do with this social networking site,  like my husband. I like to keep in touch with friends who live hundreds of miles away. I am somewhat restrictive in my criteria for accepting FB friends and I have written about that before. I usually like to at least have met the person. I have made a few exceptions. In one case the person and I grew close through blogs and the person also had a terrible illness which at least restricted travel on their part. We were probably destined never to meet in real life. In another instance, one of my close relatives was going through a difficult time and one of her colleagues asked to become my friend on FB. I accepted that just to be able to see how my close relative might be doing from another's perspective without actually discussing it! 

I know exactly how many friends I have on FB.  I keep it as close to 100 as I can.  I have very few FB friends here in my community, but I do have a few.  I am very political on FB.

I have not answered friend requests from a few co-workers that I did not become close to when we worked together or that I thought were not generally "nice" people. My judgment---my call, and I am sure others might just judge me the same way.

I have lost only one friend over the decade or so and this was a distant relative who could not stand my political postings.  He 'unfriended' me.  It was sad because he would post "photos" of the "rape" of the Ambassador in the Benghazi debacle and other questionable links.  The photos were not true and violent and fed his conservative fire, and I never pointed out that sources are essential when attempting to post facts.  I let him post what he wanted.  He was young, an ex-marine and a gun-lover.  He had lots of problems with romance in his life, lost his access to his toddler daughter due to his anger, and this was and is sad.  We had a few attempts at face-to-face conversations on his goals and direction in life, but you cannot change the spots on some leopards.  He had been a great marine, which is a structure many people need and his life stalled a little after he left.

Now to the title.  I know that the 'world' knows all of this about me.  I have taken a few of those quizzes, so they know my exercise, food, personality, travel preferences, and my habits and my spending profile.  I did not take many because I realized this data was being compiled elsewhere.  ( I was not smart enough to think about the Russians, but I did think about Pakistan and ID theft.)

I downloaded my FB archive today and it is a surprising history walk, because we do forget the intimate conversations we might have with others.  I am glad that at least others are aware of this.  Elders have less to lose in terms of information compromised, but just as much to lose in terms of ID theft.  

If you have bought anything on the Internet outside of FB, they also have your data.  I have been informed by Target, Office of Management and Budget, Experian, and some others that my data has been stolen which is more than a credit card number.  So let us all blame that shy, awkward nerd, Zuckerberg and ignore all those millionaire CEO's that are storing their money overseas while selling out data to others or at the very least being lazy in keeping it safe.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Four in the Morning

This is actually a sunset and not a sunrise
As many who are retired with no little ones or pets to demand time in a morning schedule,  I have a pretty regular morning routine. My sleep patterns are the most dyslexic. I sleep until 7-ish about three mornings a week and sleep until 4:20 something about four mornings a week. I sometimes take a nap on those days to catch up.   There does not seem to be any reason for my insomnia as it occurs those early mornings when I have been mulling a problem the day before as well as on mornings when I have been pleasantly busy the day before!  Although lately, it seems more coordinated with a full moon(?)?

While up I would love to finish that load of laundry or clean the bathrooms or vacuum (as this is the time of day when I have energy); hubby is sleeping (like  a hibernating bear) and I am polite.  Instead I make my coffee and do the following:

Sip that coffee and check outside in the dark through the porch light to see what might be happening (usually not much)
Check out Facebook (sometimes a fun trip and sometimes a bit disappointing)
Glance at the Google news and then read a bit of the digital New York Times
Do the mini-crossword puzzle from the New York Times (never brave enough to do the real puzzle)
Check my photography website looking for sales or comments
Take a digital class or two from the Great Courses subjects I have downloaded (How  to Boost Physical and Mental Energy, Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer's Craft, Introduction to Water Coloring, English in America: A Linguistic History, Everything Gourmet: Recovering the Lost Art of Cooking---Some I have competed and am re-watching these videos just for fun and memory.)
Listen with earphones to a program from the BBC In Our Time  (probably one of the jewels of the Internet)
and then finally read blogs and write on my own blog.

Today I discovered that the author Malcolm Gladwell has a podcast so I am subscribing to that to fill future time.

I am not sharing this to impress you on the industriousness of my mind or to reveal that I might be a bit of a culture nerd or even to show that I am not as empty-minded as one might think...because I am an elder and no longer care about what people think.  I am just sharing to be sharing.

All of this in the hours before the sun comes up.  What do you do on an early morning when you cannot get out and about?


Saturday, April 07, 2018

The Whole 5 Yards


With a passion for gardening, we ordered a truck of that Leafgro that I wrote about in the prior post. We have a good-sized vegetable garden and I have to tend about seven various sized flower beds, the rest we sprinkle on our pathetic lawn which is really just an effort to control erosion.

Below is what half of 5 yards looks like.  (Our garden helpers are weeks away, so much of this work we have to do ourselves....sigh.)   ($200 and we will use it all.)



We are about 70% done. Since I have company next week, I want all of the chores out of the way so  I can play.

This is where it goes:






I had to do lots of weeding, some perennial dividing, etc. prior to topping the beds  with the humus and after several days I am DONE with this work. Right now, I just want an afternoon bath and a book!



But I do get a reward and some photos with which to play.



I have written before about this germander speedwell that snuck into a pot of something I was planting so many years ago and since it looks so lovely in the spring I have let it wander.  It is a polite wanderer.  It is also called Catseyes or bird's eye speedwell and we have the wild version  roaming in our lawn.  The wild version has fewer and paler flowers.



Monday, April 02, 2018

Humus with One M.


Do not scroll down through this post. Yes, it is boring and maybe repetitive for some of you, but the next time you feel helpless in fixing this old planet, you now have one tool below.

My state is making an effort to improve the way we deal with waste. We are composting (turning organic material into soil conditioner instead of waste) big time! And, because you may have a busier life than I, I am going to take you on this selective tour with Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists on this cold day.

First, we got a slide show and a brief intro. This man loves his job and these "Masters" were serious enough to take notes.






This facility has a potential for 200 acres but is currently only using 40. They produce two kinds of humus. That compost which is made just from leaves, branches and grass clippings and a second process from plant material and from human food wastes. They are marketed as Leafgro and Leafgro Gold. They accept truckloads from all over the contiguous counties and charge a fee to leave waste. No plastic, ceramic, tissue, styrofoam, diapers, foil or glass is accepted, although bits and pieces do sneak in.



There are rows and rows of this compost in various stages of decomposition.  




The plastic that sneaks in is filtered at the very end.




There was only the odor of freshly chopped wood and garden mulch.  On warmer days the smells may be stronger.  We did have to be careful where we walked as there were some pretty muddy areas.




They were moving into a more technological approach by covering the rows with a permeable long-lasting fabric and then pumping air to control temperature and oxygen levels for the breakdown.




There are environmental companies that pick up the produce and plant materials from stores and restaurants.  This man below had more customers than he could handle and delivered from some of the finest restaurants in D.C. since this facility accepted raw meat!  He had to pay a fee to deposit these materials but still turned a profit from the retailers' fee he collected.




This material was immediately covered by the bulldozer with several feet of plant materials and that insured that no rodents or animals came in.







And for us gardeners, we were drooling over the final product...black gold.  They sold everything they produced and always had a waiting list.  They sold directly as well as through over a dozen retail outlets that sold both in small bags and by the truck!  There was a sliding scale and I cannot remember the price, but it was reasonable.






Now some of my readers may have no interest in this process or resulting product, but you cannot tell me you are uninterested in much smaller landfills, much less pollution, and a healthier environment!  (Don't I take you to the best places?)

Friday, March 30, 2018

The Best Places to Be In


Spring has sprung and so have most of my ligaments. I spent hours weeding and cutting away perennials on my knees in wet soil. My roses never got their late winter cutback and now they are 4 feet high.  


Then there is the danger after taking a warm shower to sit down for an hour or so and go through emails. On these days I need a crane to get me off the couch when all the joints have joined in protest against moving ever again.


A pod from my gardenia.

I have spent much time going through expired packs of seeds and scolding myself for not throwing them all out or even to sprinkle in an area of soft soil, and thus, giving them a fair chance to rally. I also collect seeds in the fall and sometimes I am good about labeling and stratifying and or keeping in sealed containers, but other times they end up in an unmarked envelope and then leak all over the plastic shoe box in which I keep my seeds.  80% will most likely never germinate.  I faithfully gather black plastic seedling flats and fill with seed soil and place on a warming pad under a grow light and try to talk them into emerging.


I learned that pea and bean type seeds can be shocked with very, very warm water for a minute and they will germinate more rapidly when planted.  That is my experiment with my hyacinth bean this year...we shall see.


This week I took a tour of a magical composting facility which is too good to not have a post all its own.  By hanging out with gardeners and farmers I get into some of the very best places!